Quantcast
Connect with us

Pau Gasol recalls chance Kobe Bryant encounter in Spain months before Grizzlies trade

Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Lakers

Former NBA veteran Pau Gasol recalled the moments leading up to the trade that sent him to the Los Angeles Lakers. Apparently, he crossed paths with the Bryants while working out in a hotel gym in his hometown of Barcelona during the summer of 2007.

“It’s crazy how that happened,” Gasol said via ESPN. “There were talks about him leaving the Lakers and potentially getting traded to Chicago. There were talks about me, too, because I wanted to be in a different situation than Memphis at the time, and the direction that the franchise was taking.”

The Spanish big man eventually envisioned that he will get to play alongside Bryant at one point in his career. After a few months, the Memphis Grizzlies proceeded to do the unthinkable and the team eventually traded him to the Lakers midway through the 2007-2008 season. The agreement between the two teams involved the exchange of multiple players including his younger brother, Marc.

“So I said, ‘Well, maybe one day we’ll play together. You never know.’ In my mind, I couldn’t register the Grizzlies trading me to the Lakers. But then, a few months later, when I thought it just wouldn’t happen, it did. And I ended up with him and the Lakers in a perfect time where things just clicked and came together right away, and we had incredible times.”

After the deal went through, the Lakers legend expressed his excitement about playing alongside Gasol but was also quick to remind him that they will seriously play for a goal to win a title together.

“I landed in Washington that first night to join the team, and after my physical he came to my room to tell me, ‘Hey, I’m very excited to have you. Very happy that you’re here, but now let’s go win a championship,'” Gasol said.

The Barcelonian quickly knew of his place in the squad and how he needed to adjust and buy into the plans of the Lakers in order to make the partnership flourish over the coming years.

“I mean, it just doesn’t get more clear than that. He made sure I knew right away where he stood. There’s no confusion: ‘This is what I want. This is where I’m at, and this is where I will need you to be. Now, are you going to be on it? Are you going to be on board or are you not?'”

As it turned out, both Bryant and Gasol went on to spend six and a half seasons playing together for the Purple and Gold. They went through three-straight NBA Finals and won two consecutive titles for the Lakers franchise.

Their chemistry on the floor during those days certainly allowed them to attain success and make an impact on the team in their own unique ways.